Do You Make These Common Mistakes When You Blow Your Nose? How to Properly Blow Your Nose

A woman blowing her nose too hard into a tissue.

You may have never thought about how to properly blow your nose, but you should! It can prevent a lot of potential problems.

Have you ever seen any of the thousands of "life hack" videos on YouTube or social media? These videos show you how you may be doing simple tasks wrong, and the "correct" way to do them. Some of these hacks may seem pretty inspired— or completely useless if you wasted precious time learning about something you already knew how to do.

Typically, these life hacks are just common sense. Sometimes though, there really are better ways to do some things, no matter how simple they seem at first glance.

Case in point: blowing your nose. Everyone knows how to blow their nose. You just hold a tissue or a handkerchief up to your nose and blow, right?

Not exactly.

Believe it or not, there is a right way and a wrong way to blow your nose. In fact, blowing your nose the wrong way can leave you with a headache and make your congestion even worse! So here's how to properly blow your nose and avoid the most common mistakes you can make when trying to clear your sinuses.

3 Common Mistakes You Make When You Blow Your Nose (and How to Blow Your Nose the Right Way)

Blowing your nose seems self-explanatory enough— even toddlers know how to do it— but there are still ways to get it wrong and not even realize it. It may not feel like you're doing anything wrong if nothing bad happens, but it is possible to hurt yourself if you blow your nose wrong.

Here are 3 common mistakes people make when they blow their nose— and how to do things the right way.

Mistake #1: Blowing Too Hard

When you have a stuffy nose or a runny nose, it can be tempting to blow as hard as you can and clear your sinuses in an explosive fashion. This is a bad idea.

Blowing your nose too hard can cause all sorts of pain and discomfort, including:

  • Increasing your risk of sinusitis, also known as a sinus infection. Blowing your nose too hard sends germs, bacteria and excess mucus back into your sinuses where they can cause an infection. [1]
  • Bursting a blood vessel in your nose and causing a nosebleed
  • Causing headaches
  • Causing an ear infection or a ruptured eardrum. Forceful nose blowing can force air from your nose to your middle ear, creating pressure in your ear canal.

How to Do It Right

Blow your nose gently, and blow one nostril at a time.

Blowing one nostril at a time reduces the amount of force you'd need to clear your nose, and keeps the pressure in each nasal passage consistent. With this, you're at a significantly lower risk of bleeding, headaches, ear pain, or other unpleasant side effects of blowing too hard.

Mistake #2: You Squeeze Your Nose Too Tightly

Do you squeeze your nose or nostrils tightly, or even closed as you blow your nose? Don't do it!

If you squeeze your nose too tightly, you're closing your airways and not giving all that mucus a way out. When you try to blow through these pinched openings, this can send air into your sinuses or into your ears. This causes pain and uncomfortable pressure in your head, ears, and sinuses.

How to Do It Right

When it comes to squeezing your nose before you blow, you want to follow the "Goldilocks principle." Not too much force, and not too little— just the right amount. Holding your nose with this moderate pressure before you blow helps make sure all that snot and air makes it to the nearest exit.

To do that, simply hold your tissue or handkerchief up to your nose and gently rest your thumb and your index finger on both nostrils.

This provides you with just enough force to keep everything contained as you blow your nose. This also makes it easier to blow your nose one nostril at a time if desired.

Mistake #3: You Overuse Nasal Sprays

Nasal spray is a common and effective way to relieve nasal congestion and help relieve symptoms from conditions like hay fever and the common cold. Just a single spray in each nostril can send all that mucus packing and right into your tissue.

Nasal sprays work by shrinking the blood vessels in your nasal mucosa. When these blood vessels become inflamed, they cause that familiar stuffiness that makes you reach for the tissues.

However, overusing nasal sprays can actually make your symptoms worse.

Overusing nasal spray can reduce the medication's effectiveness in a matter of days, forcing you to use it more just to get the same relief it gave you originally. It can also cause what's called rhinitis medicamentosa, or rebound congestion. This is essentially worsened congestion caused by overusing decongestant nasal spray. [2]

How to Do It Right

Use nasal spray only as directed, even if you're still feeling stuffy and snuffly a few days after you start using it.

Alternatively, you can still get relief from your nasal symptoms even if you avoid nasal sprays altogether. Clear your sinuses without medication or nasal irrigation with these excellent holistic options:

  • Use SinuSonic. SinuSonic uses gentle acoustic vibrations and light pressure to relieve nasal congestion naturally. Thanks to this combination, any extra mucus hiding in your nose will make its way out in a hurry. In fact, it's common to need to blow your nose at least once during each SinuSonic treatment! Just remember our tips for blowing your nose the right way and you'll be breathing freely in no time.
  • Use a nasal rinse. Nasal rinse remedies like neti pots and saline solution use a sterile saltwater solution to thin out thick mucus, soothe inflamed nasal tissue, and rinse away any bacteria, germs, allergens, or other irritants that could be sending your nose into overdrive. You can easily find these at any pharmacy or grocery store.

Related: SinuSonic as a Natural Decongestant + 7 Other Natural Remedies That Actually Work

Does Nasal Congestion Have Your Nose Out of Joint? Try SinuSonic!

Nobody likes having a stuffy nose or runny nose. It's unpleasant, uncomfortable, and it can make the following days a real slog. Blowing your nose can help take some of the edge off, but it's important to do it right.

That's because blowing your nose wrong can not only be counterproductive, but it could potentially make your symptoms last longer or even do some damage!

But don't worry— with a few easy changes, you can eliminate those risks and go back to breathing deeply and clearly like you should be.

Ready to make stuffiness and sniffling a thing of the past? Try SinuSonic!

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  1. Gwaltney, Jack M. M, et al. "Nose Blowing Propels Nasal Fluid into the Paranasal Sinuses." OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 1 Feb. 2000,
  2. Hayes, Kristin. "What Is Rebound Congestion?" Verywell Health, Verywell Health, 15 May 2022,